For some reason I have not written as much as I used to. Maybe it has been the lack of interest in Constructed formats. I know absolutely nothing about the Limited game of magic, so I’ll let Nick, Ken, Mike, Geordie and Tim keep telling you about it. Besides, they all write superb articles. I’d write tournament reports, but what can I tell you about a deck that is illegal come last week? So I’ll try to write something about the new Extended.
I’ve been testing pretty much nonstop with my friends in Kentucky, and players that have joined Iiain Telfar’s online testing group. I think, however, the main reason I have stopped writing is that it takes me three to four hours longer to finish an article when I start it. I guess my laptop sucks or something, but when I start to type, it will sometimes type threats against my life, or tell me how much I suck. If anyone out there can tell me how to stop my laptop from typing by itself that would be really cool. [I recommend seeing a priest and using Linda Blair as a consultant. – Knut]
This is one of the decks that I have started off testing for the upcoming Extended season. It showed promise last year with some appearances in Grand Prix, and John Eardley won a PTQ with it in Columbus, Ohio. I have been testing this deck pretty much exclusively, looking for something that has a good match-up against the Rock, Tog, Red Deck Wins, and Dump Truck. The deck I speak of is Tradewind Opposition. Here is my list.
4 Yavimaya Coast
1 Shivan Reef
1 Karplusan Forest
4 Wooded Foothills
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Deranged Hermit
1 Tradewind Rider
1 Uktabi Orangutan
1 Viridian Shaman
1 Waterfront Bouncer
1 Llawan, Cephalid Empress
I’m not positive yet which creature I think is better in the slot currently occupied by Waterfront Bouncer. I’m pretty certain that he is the best creature to have against the creature heavy decks that are forecasted to be in the format, but if control starts to take over, Merfolk Looter would be really good to have in the place of the Bouncer.
Here are some more explanations, hopefully I can clear up a bit of confusion that I may have caused in my decklist.
Wall Of Blossoms
When I put this card in the deck, I knew it did one thing really well. It blocks other creatures. The added card you draw more often than not gives you more firepower for your lockdown. You can keep bouncing this guy with Tradewind Rider, mill through your deck finding answers and threats. However, if you want a huge blocker for the early guy, and the ability to use this slot as a mana producer, Vine Trellis has tested fantastically in this spot. With Vine Trellis, you get eleven mana-producing creatures, and that type of speed has not been seen since uh… December.
Until Mirrodin came out, this was hands down the best creature in green that was not a Reanimate target. The backbone of U/G Madness decks, this savage pup will allow you to be the aggressor in the control matchup. He has the added bonus of being able to be bigger (and therefore better) than seventy-five percent of the creatures in Red Deck Wins.
The usurper to Wild Mongrel’s throne. This guy laughs at everything Red Deck Wins tosses his way. He regenerates, which will cause the opposing Tog player heartache as they have to keep removing or discarding cards to keep their Tog alive. If you get a mirror match, this guy is an MVP, just because Tradewind and Opposition cannot target him! Clearly this is the best creature Green has in its arsenal, and if you do not have a play set of this guy, you must buy them now!
I remember when the spoilers for Tempest hit the streets. Everyone I knew was talking about this guy, and so far he has never disappointed. He is another wall against Red Deck Wins, gives you a way to deal with Tog by bouncing him all the time, and allows you to break things with your own board. Need more creatures? Bounce that Deranged Hermit. Need more cards? Tap him and two dorks to return Wall of Blossoms. Gonna lose a creature in combat? Return, and make your opponent the loser in combat. This guy does everything but slice the potatoes. In a pinch he even attacks for one!
Okay, you got me on this one. I’m not fully sold on the idea that this guy is really needed in the deck. Now, don’t get me wrong, he has some pretty broken synergy with Waterfront Bouncer and Tradewind Rider, but what good creature are you going to trade it with? I guess against Goblins he can take Goblin Warchief, or maybe the random Akroma, Angel of Wrath from the guys trying to make Reanimator a viable strategy again. The only matchup where this guy really shines is in Dump Truck where your cheap creatures can soak up their removal, and you can take their Exalted Angels and Shadowmage Infiltrators. If this paragraph did not make you want to play with Gilded Drakes, then I guess I can’t really help you.
All this guy does is make a lot of creatures. He does his job, and no one does it any better. (Okay, Verdant Force does a pretty good job in the making creatures market, but he costs infinite.)
Once thought to be too slow to play in the Extended format, this card gets to shine in a slower happier Extended. The tool box sideboard allows you to grab guys that kill artifacts, kill other creatures, recur your already dead creatures, make all your guys fly, or make your opponent stop playing Blue creatures. Yeah, it seems like a useless card on paper, but it plays divine.
Fire / Ice
The most important spell to come into Blue-based decks since Fact or Fiction. [Ah, but you aren’t playing Fact or Fiction, the erstwhile editor noticed. – Knut] The added bonus of killing 100% of the creatures in Red Deck Wins gives you the breathing room you can use to set up your superior creature base.
The basis of the deck that put Alex Borteh on the map. (Although he played Fish Opposition instead.) The catalyst that let Eugene Harvey become the United States National Champion. I’m pretty sure that an Opposition deck won Grand Prix: Memphis (at least I think it did.) [Yep, Mikey P won it all with this decklist. -Knut] This card was one of the more interesting releases from Urza’s Destiny, and people have tried to take advantage of it in just about every format that it is legal in (I’m not going say that statement is true in Type One, which is why I qualified it).
The lands are pretty self explanatory, so what I want to discuss here are the lands that I choose not to play.
The best card out of Mercadian Masques has no place in this deck. The thing about it is that it does not produce any color of mana in this mana intensive deck.
The vote is out on this guy. So many great non-basic lands that you can kill with this, but is the risk worth the rewards? If you get more then one of these in your opening hand, do you force yourself to take a mulligan?
I’ve tested this and I was not happy with the results. You want to play a turn 1 mana producer with the deck. The extra creature that this will give you is not worth the loss of tempo.
Actually I’m looking to include one of these cards into the main deck. I’m not certain where it is going to fit in at, but it is much better then Wasteland in the late game. Maybe this card would be better as a Wish target?
Also note this: You can take out the Red splash entirely, and put in Black instead. If you choose this route, you get to play with more fetchlands (Polluted Delta), discard (Duress and Cabal Therapy) and have two great sideboard Wish targets in Crypt Creeper and Bone Shredder. I’ve tested both versions and feel that, yes the Black splash is very good, but it is only good in a metagame that is full of Tog, control and combo decks.
The deck looks familiar to everyone who played in a Type 2 tournament in the past three years. Opposition decks were very popular in the format.
Man, this deck can do some pretty degenerate things. Tradewind Rider can set up so many different combos in your deck. Deranged Hermit combined with the Tempest rare gives you enough creature to keep your opponent locked down under an Opposition. Gilded Drake and Tradewind Rider can set up a soft lock to where your opponent will never get a creature of their own again. After casting a Living Wish, you can abuse Flametongue Kavu, Uktabi Orangutan, and Viridian Shaman.
In my match-ups I have been playing ten games before sideboarding. Having such a Wish diversified board makes it hard to actually get real board testing in. I’ll list the key wish targets against the decks that you could play against, and in the case of Red Deck Wins (where Chills shine like stars), you take out Waterfront Bouncers. Against the Rock, you bring in Stifle, because Pernicious Deed is quite awful if it resolves against you.
Vs. Tog (7-3)
This matchup is pretty much defined by how your acceleration matches theirs. Your Birds and Elves are pretty clutch against the Tog player’s Chrome Moxes and counterspells. Troll Ascetic is the best creature you can have in play against the deck, as he always makes the Tog player lose cards out of his hand or graveyard, causing a loss of card advantage that will be hard for the opponent to regain.
Opposition may very well be the second best card in the match, allowing you to take advantage of the permanents your opponent has played. Tapping lands or Togs down, you can force through threats, or attack without fear of a Tog coming back for lethal damage. Keep in mind that some decks run Upheaval, and if you can keep the other player from playing this devastating sorcery, you should win with ease.
Key Wish Targets:
Llawan Cephalid Empress
She’s good, because in my testing, Tog is running more Smothers then Terror or Diabolic Edict. She locks the Togs safely in your opponent’s hand, and nothing short of lots of removal or Upheaval will keep her out of play.
With the amount of removal and countermagic in the deck, the recursion that you can gain with the Incarnation can be backbreaking in the matchup.
Well, obviously this guy lets you fly over Togs. Did you learn nothing from the previous Type 2 season?
Vs. Dump Truck. (7-3)
Wild Mongrel is one of the superstars in this match-up with his ability to keep the Dump Truck from gaining to much card advantage with Shadowmage Infiltrator. Tradewind Rider tricks with Gilded Drake can be solid against Exalted Angel. Who doesn’t like taking a 4/5 that flies and gains you life? Waterfront Bouncer is good in the match-up as well, keeping Meddling Mage from locking down your important spells. This is a pretty hard match-up to lose, with the early mana creatures to suck up stuff like Edicts, and Opposition keeping them from playing Vindicate, Seal of Cleansing, and Deep Analysis.
Key Wish Targets: Llawan, Cephalid Empress. For the second match in a row this is the first card I wish for. Unsmotherable, this queen fish keeps your opponent from playing any further Meddling Mages or Shadowmages.
Vs. The Rock. (5-5)
This is what one would call a nightmare match-up. Pernicious Deed is clearly a house against you and your strategy. It’s not, by any means unwinnable, but before the sideboarding, you have an uphill march. Troll Ascetic is the hots against the deck, just because of his regeneration ability. Deranged Hermit matches most of their creatures in converted mana costs. Waterfront Bouncers and Tradewind Riders protect your own creatures against the Deed. If the game goes into the late stages, Tradewind Rider is clearly the best creature you can have. Disrupt their strategy, make them lose tempo.
When you reach the standard ground stall, it is great to have a way to fly over your opponent’s creatures.
Just for the same reason he is good against the Dump Truck. Kills things.
Vs. Red Deck Wins (4-6)
I can only imagine that this match-up is much better when you get to side in the Chills. Fire/Ice is the best card you can draw multiples of. You have to be the aggressive player in the match-up to have a chance game 1. Try to set up a quick Opposition lock to keep Tangle Wires from hurting you too much, and be careful about the Blistering Firecats and direct damage packages that the Red player has. Waterfront Bouncers are near useless in this match-up, they get sided out for Chills all day long!
Key Wish Target:
Viridian Shaman/Uktabi Orangutan
Important in stopping the machine gun that is Cursed Scroll. You want to kill this artifact to keep your smaller guys in play, to set up degenerate locks with Tradewind Rider and Opposition.
Maybe I should have more of these guys in the board.
Cast this guy, get a bunch of blockers.
Okay, so I hope this helps in your testing for the upcoming season. I plan on playing this deck in Indianapolis later this month at a PTQ, and hopefully the work that has went in on it will be good for something better than another 1-3 performance. Thanks for reading, and good luck in the next season.